‘Let’s Talk About Climate Change’ Returns for Second Offering in Fall 2023

Professor Alex Glass with students in the UNIV102 class this past year.

“Climate change is not just an environmental problem or policy debate; it changes everything about how we live, how we organize our politics and economies, and how we interact with the natural and social worlds,” said Daniel Vermeer, director of Duke’s Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment.  By bringing together a diverse range of scholars and students, we have a unique opportunity to think deeply about the emerging realities of a climate changed world, and how to live well in it.  This is an ideal environment to free us from denial and overwhelm, and to mobilize us to rise together to the climate challenge.”

The interdisciplinary framework is Duke’s strength in teaching about climate change. Several faculty come from fields that make them “unusual suspects” for teaching on the topic. Torry Bend is a theater studies professor and puppet artist who will show students “how art can compel reflection that leads to action.”

Valerie Sabol is a nursing professor who has applied her clinical expertise to identify and mitigate the effects of climate change. And medicine professor Dr. Cameron Wolfe is a global infectious disease expert who was one of the campus leaders in Duke’s and the local community’s response to COVID-19.

“My work is really on the mitigation end of things – the impact climate change on human and species engagement, and consequent disease transmission should be no more vivid than after a pandemic,” Wolfe said. “There are so many areas where our society needs to be more ready for these impacts.  COVID is simply not going to be our last vector-driven pandemic, so can we use this moment to not only recognize those links, but re-energize ourselves to prepare for them and change what we can?”

Here is the full list of UNIV102 Faculty Fellows:

  • Torry Bend is associate professor of the practice of theater studies.
  • Maurizio Forte is William and Sue Gross Distinguished Professor of Classical Studies and Art, Art History and Visual Studies.
  • José María Rodríguez-García is associate professor of Romance studies.
  • Liz Kalies is the lead renewable energy scientist at The Nature Conservancy and adjunct associate professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment.
  • Ryke Longest is the director of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at the School of Law.
  • Valerie Sabol is a clinical professor and interim vice dean for academic affairs at the School of Nursing.
  • Kerilyn Schewel is a lecturing fellow in the Duke Center for International Development in Sanford’s School of Public Policy.
  • Amy Schmid is David M. Goodner Associate Professor in the Department of Biology
  • Cameron Wolfe is professor of medicine at the School of Medicine.
  • Daniel Vermeer is associate professor of the practice of business administration and director of the Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment.

In addition, the inaugural university course, “UNIV101: Let’s Talk About Race,” will be taught for a third time in the spring semester.